In this immersive in-gallery program, experience artists’ responses to the paintings of Jack Whitten through dance, music, and poetry. Dancer Deja Stowers, poet Douglas Kearney, and musicians Davu Seru and Pat O’Keefe will stage performances inspired by both the surrounding pieces and Whitten’s broader body of work.
Portraits of Jack is copresented by Rain Taxi Review of Books.
About the Artists
Poet, performer, librettist, and educator Douglas Kearney is the author of the poetry collection The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), a National Poetry Series selection. His most recent book, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014), was a finalist for the California Book Award. Kearney has a particular interest in ekphrastic poetry, and has performed his work at the Studio Museum in Harlem, SFMOMA, and the J. Paul Getty Museum and Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, among other venues. Born in Brooklyn, he now lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley and teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at CalArts.
Pat O’Keefe is a multifaceted performer who is active and in demand in a wide variety of musical styles and genres. He has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras and wind ensembles, wailed away for belly dancers, and rocked samba in the streets. He is currently the woodwind player for the St. Paul–based new music ensemble Zeitgeist. O’Keefe currently teaches at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.
An improvising musician, percussionist and composer, Davu Seru performs regularly in the Twin Cities and abroad as a jazz musician. Like many jazz-rooted musicians influenced by “new music” experiments with extended technique, his approach to the drum set is as much nostalgic as it is technophilic. Davu currently works in a trio with French clarinetist Catherine Delaunay and French bassist Guillaume Seguron, leads the band Click Song (with Marc Anderson, Nathan Hanson, and pick-up band), and is coleader with Mankwe Ndosi of the Mother of Masks, an Afrocentric improvising ensemble of poets, storytellers, activists, and musicians.
Deja Stowers began dancing at the age of four in the drill team African Perfection. She continued to dance throughout her junior high years, and later studied with masters of West African dance. Stowers is now a dancer in the West African company Voice of Culture Drum and Dance. Her personal works look through a specific African American lens to create art for social change.